8 Things You Should Know About Virtual Assistants
We all know that Virtual Assistants are the saviours of entrepreneurs and small business owners, but do we really know what they’re about and what they can do?
We posed this question to 50 entrepreneurs to see whether they really understood the concept of a Virtual Assistant. Here are the results:
- 60% Think that Virtual Assistants are merely admin personnel
- 20% Feel they’re unqualified or inexperienced
- 10% Believe that Virtual Assistants cost way too much money
- 15% Feel that they cannot trust a Virtual Assistant
To dispel these myths, here are 8 things you should know about Virtual Assistants!
1. You get what you pay for
Virtual Assistants are extremely flexible. When you hire a VA, you can expect him/her to work flexible hours. You can work with your VA to decide which hours they should work and you pay them only for those hours worked.
Worried about your staff not being available during the holidays? Well, VA’s can sort that problem out for you. Hiring a seasonal assistant can help you maximise on seasonal sales.
2. Most Virtual Assistants can do much more
It’s common that business owners think that VA’s are only suitable for admin or clerical tasks – they can do so much more.
You can hire a Virtual Assistant for:
- Financial Statements
- Customer Service
- Web Design
- Content Creation
- Social Media Management
- Consulting and Strategy
- And much more
In fact, you can outsource almost any task to a VA!
3. Virtual Assistants are affordable
VA’s are much more affordable than full-time, office-based employees for two reasons:
- You pay them only for work completed
- You avoid office costs
Studies also showed that because VA’s work from home, they will charge you much less than if they had to travel to work daily.
4. They are resourceful
VA’s often wear many hats and therefore, are powered with so much knowledge, tips and tricks to get the work done. Also, the fact that they don’t rely on a Manager pushes them to find answers on their own.
5. Oftentimes Virtual Assistants have impressive CV’s
The VA demographic tends to comprise of people who have already worked a fulfilling office career and now are looking for a work-life balance. They are highly qualified individuals who just prefer the benefits of not having to physically go to an office.
6. Virtual Assistants are disciplined
The mere fact that they are responsible for their income forces them to practice discipline. They know that if they don’t work, or if they provide mediocre work, they will not be hired again.
7. They wear many hats
Most VA’s possess experience from working on many different projects. Hence, this gives them an upper hand over individuals who work with one employer for a long period of time. They can deal with
8. Virtual Assistants are hustlers
Have you ever heard the saying, “Hustle like a New Yorker”? Well, that’s what VA’s are like. If they can’t do something, they won’t wait for you to tell them what to do, instead, they will search the internet or find other ways to complete the work.
They also have more pride in their work because most people become VA’s due to a passion for what they do. So, if someone tells you that VA’s are lazy, expensive and untrustworthy, send them this blog!
Outsource All Your Reminder Calls to Your Virtual Assistant
Are you a busy executive or entrepreneur struggling to keep abreast of all the 1001 reminders you’re receiving on your phone, PC and other devices? As much as technology has made it simple for us to manage our businesses, it can become overwhelming as the business starts to grow. To avoid missed appointments or calls, hire a “personal” reminder in the form of a Virtual Assistant. This person will act as an assistant to give you reminders on calls you need to make, appointments you need to attend and much more.
How to setup reminders
Hiring the Virtual Assistant is easy; what one needs to work on is setting up the reminders correctly so that you’re not disturbed during important meetings or events. This will mean that your Virtual Assistant must share a calendar with you if she’s going to be reminding you about certain events.
First, decide whether you want a reminder the day before or on the day of the event. It’s wise to have a run-through of your next day’s calendar with your VA the night before and then receive reminders at least an hour before each event is supposed to take place.
Then, decide whether you want your Virtual Assistant to make the calls for you or whether you want to make them yourself. It’s wise to make sales calls yourself so that you can build a rapport with each client. With that said, not all calls should come from you. Your Virtual Assistant can easily call your clients to remind them about an upcoming meeting for example.
Other call reminders your Virtual Assistant can handle:
- Follow up calls on missing documents
- Confirmations of appointments
- Requesting certain information
- Special events such as birthdays and anniversaries
- Family events or responsibilities (yes, they can do this too)
Once you’ve agreed on how often you want to be reminded and who will be calling each client, decide on a standard form of reminder. We recommend that your Virtual Assistant first sends you an SMS one hour before the event. if you receive the message you can reply with a “yes”. Failure to reply will either let your VA know that you’re not available or that you didn’t receive the message. If you haven’t replied to a message, your Virtual Assistant will call you five minutes before the scheduled event to find out if everything is on schedule. This is when you can advise him/her to either call or email the client with an update.
Are you interested in hiring your “personal” reminder? Give us a call today!
We’ll show you how to become an Outsourcing Master with these tips
When I first on boarded clients it took forever to sort out the schedule and to get everything working properly. We all make mistakes when we first start out. I wanted to really understand how the on boarding could be sped up, so I took the time to interview my first few clients. What you see below is lessons they learned when on boarding their first Virtual Assistant and understanding the outsourcing world.
Ask yourself why you want to outsource in the first place?
Reverse engineer the reason why you want extra help in the first place. If you understand where you are headed, then you’ll know what is required to get there. It is easier then to delegate appropriate tasks to your Virtual Assistant.
What don’t you want in an assistant?
This is quite an important question to ask of yourself. When I did my interviews, my clients brought the following to my attention.
- They wanted someone who easily volunteered status of tasks, so they didn’t want someone they had to keep hounding to find out how far things are.
- They wanted someone who was always available. But what they realized after the fact was they never carried that message across when they first interviewed their Virtual Assistant.
- The client didn’t want to make the time to train the VA, so they ended up doing everything themselves. Be prepared to train your Virtual Assistant, it’s the same concept when you on board a new member of the team. This kind of training refers to how you want correspondence dealt with, times you are available, etc. It is not your duty to train your VA on certain apps and general software.
The best way to on board your Virtual Assistant
- Have a job description ready. This negates missing steps in the support required, plus, you are able to weed out chance-takers.
- Ask your potential Virtual Assistant to do some tests. This can be anything from a trial test to see how well they communicate, can navigate certain software to personality profiling to ensure that you are a good match to work with. Some of my favorites are Roger Hamilton’s Genius Test and Tony Robbins DISC profile test.
- Sign a contract. This contract should include a NDA to cover any confidential information you may be sharing with your Virtual Assistant.
- Check their availability. If you know you’re going to require assistance certain times of the day, or you want your VA to be ready for a quick meeting every morning at 8am, then you need to address is when interviewing her. If you don’t mention it she won’t know that this is a priority for you.
- Sort out systems. Be sure to give your Virtual Assistant the access she needs to appropriate systems. If you are concerned about sharing passwords, LastPass is a great tool for this. Take the time to take your VA through these systems, especially if they are unique to your business.
- Be ready to back off. Allow your Virtual Assistant to do what she is great at. We are all control freaks at some point to some extent, however, sometimes wanting control everything can be counterproductive. Make sure your instructions are clear, that they cannot be misinterpreted.
Make sure that you use a template to outsource tasks, again leaving no room for misinterpretation and wasted time. Take the time to take your VA through what you need, how and when, then let her do what she does best, offering support to you, the busy Entrepreneur!